Iranian Naval Force Reaches Bab al-Mandeb

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer According to the Iranian news agency, IRNA, Iranian naval forces of the 34th Fleet have reached the Bab el-Mandeb, a strategic strait and oil traffic choke point between Yemen and Djibouti, Iran's navy commander said earlier today. The force consists of the frigate, Alborz (F-72) and the light replenishment ship, Bushehr (AORLH-422). IRIN Commander Vice Admiral Habibolla Sayyari (IRIN Photo) Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, stated that the IRIN ships are on an anti-piracy patrol mission. "We are present in the Gulf of Aden in accordance with international regulations to ensure the safety of commercial ships of our country against the threat of pirates," he said. Iranian merchant shipping has been attacked by Somali pirates in the past. Sayyari also stated that the Iranian Navy has maintained a continuous presence in the Gulf of Aden, Bab el-Mandeb Read more

US Response to Iranian Seizure of the MV Maersk Tigris

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer The US is prepared to deal with increasing naval tensions in the Persian Gulf in response to the Iranian seizure of the Marshall Islands registered Danish container ship, MV Maresk Tigris, according to Pentagon sources. The US State Department, after consultation with Marshall Islands officials, has clarified its position. “The U.S. continues to have “full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands,” according to the State Department’s website. The Marshall Islands gained independence from the United States in 1986, but continues in the US sphere of defense, according to a treaty. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/04/30/state-dept-pentagon-send-conflicting-messages-on-us-response-to-iran-cargo-ship Subsequently, FOX News televised reports that the US Navy will escort American-flagged commercial Read more

US and Marshall Islands Weigh Options Over Iran’s Seizure of the Maersk Tigris

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer In response to the recent Iranian seizure of the Danish-owned, Marshall Island registered container ship, MV Maersk Tigris, US State Department and Marshall Islands officials are considering various options in this matter. Currently, the US Navy has a maritime security task force in the Persian Gulf monitoring the situation consisting of : the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, USNS Farragut, (DDG-99,) and Typhoon class coastal patrol ships USNS Thunderbolt (PC-12), USNS Firebolt (PC-10) and USNS Typhoon (PC-5) operating in the area near the Strait of Hormuz following the Iran’s detention of the cargo ship, according to Pentagon sources. http://news.yahoo.com/u-marshall-islands-discuss-way-ahead-iran-detains-174331669.html According to an Iran Project report, The US State Department has announced that it was “premature” Read more

Progress Report: HB 50

An Interview With John Kowalko By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer According to Delaware State Representative, John Kowolko, (D - 25th District) HB 50, a bill that would enable parents to have their children opt out of state education assessment is ready to be voted on sometime next week. He stated that he is actively working to communicate details of the bill individually to all House members." I would like to assuage their feelings and correct any misimpressions. There is alot of misinformation out there.”, he said earlier today. "HB 50 will simply codify parents rights to opt out of state testing and preclude state and school district employees or officials from exerting pressure or other forms of intimidation if they opt out. The value of this bill is to provoke a greater dialog on education. A lot of our resources that should go into educating out children in the classroom Read more

Baltimore’s Mayor, Incompetent Or Following Presidential Orders?

Baltimore's Mayor Is Beyond Incompetent. Are her actions also criminal? With the outbreak of uncontrolled violence in Baltimore Tuesday night, police stood still, and instead of arresting violent criminals who were looting, burning businesses and police vehicles, while stoning police, they retreated! Why? This is a question I've heard asked on radio talk shows and throughout Delaware where people gather. Accusations have been repeatedly hurled at Baltimore's Mayor, Stephaine C. Rawlings-Blake, that she ordered her police force to stand down, when and if violence broke out. Mayor Rawlings-Blake was repeatedly quoted by Foxnews' Anchor, Meagan Kelly as saying before the violence started, "we also gave those who wished to destroy, space to do that as well." It was also reported over many news sources that Mayor Rawlings-Blake spoke to President Obama long before the violence broke Read more

Iranian Naval Force Seizes Danish Cargo Ship

US Navy Responds By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer Elements of the Iran Revolutionary Council Guard Navy (IRCGN) have boarded and seized a Danish-owned cargo ship, MV Maersk Tigris (originally bound for the UAE from Saudi Arabia) in the Persian Gulf, earlier today. An earlier report from the Iranian FARS News Agency claimed that the MV Maersk Tigris was a US-owned cargo ship. The report also claimed that the trade vessel was seized by the Iranian naval forces at the request of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization after a relevant court order was issued for its confiscation. The order was officially issued regarding alleged long-standing overdue payments that the vessel’s account owed to the IPMO. The ship was reportedly boarded and directed to the southern Iranian Port of Bandar Abbas. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940208001509 According to Pentagon Read more

Finnish Navy Fires Depth Charges in Territorial Waters Near Helsinki

By: Wolf von Baumgart , Staff Writer The Finnish Ministry of Defense has stated that its maritime surveillance system detected a possible submarine intrusion in Finnish Baltic territorial waters near Helsinki (Helsingfors) at approximately Noon (local time) on April 27. Finnish Navy surface vessels conducted an area search and subsequently fired warning depth charges at approximately 3am earlier this morning after a second detection was registered. The incident is currently under investigation. No official statements as to the possible source of the submarine target have been issued as yet, pending outcome of the investigation. Various neutral and NATO-affiliated Baltic Area States have reported increased Russian submarine and air force maneuvers described as unsafe, intrusive or provocative (occasionally involving territorial incursions) as well as increased surface naval activity Read more

9-12 Delaware Patriots to host Candidate Nights for Kent and Sussex County School Board Elections

The 9-12 Delaware Patriots will be hosting two school board candidate nights, one for all of the Kent County Candidates and another for the Sussex County Candidates.   Each event will be conducted as a forum for the candidates, not a debate.  Former U.S. Senatorial Candidate, Kevin Wade will be the moderator for both forums.  The candidates will be given an equal amount of time to share their platforms, and an opportunity to answer questions directly from the audience.  They will also have table space to share campaign materials and interact with potential voters.  These forums are both free and open to the public. The 9-12 Delaware Patriots is a non-partisan organization and will not be endorsing any candidates.  These forums provide citizens with an opportunity to gather information on the candidates so that they can make an informed decision of who to offer their support and Read more

Russia’s Geopolitical Posture May Be Inconsistent With Its START Strategy.

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer Russia's nuclear strategy appears to be inconsistent with recent Russian geopolitical posture, including recent nuclear treats to Denmark, a Russian general’s call for preemptive nuclear strikes against NATO, etc. in the face of its actual strategic nuclear weapons reduction according to the latest Nuclear Notebook, written by Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris of the Federation of American Scientists. According to their analysis, Russia is continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal while reducing strategic nuclear launchers well below the limit set by the New START Treaty. The overall Russian force appears to be leveling off at nearly below 500 strategic launchers over the next decade, as older Soviet-era ICBMs are scheduled to be retired. Russia currently has 4,500 nuclear warheads. 1,780 are deployed on missiles and bomber bases with 700 Read more

Iran Denies Shipping Weapons to Houthi Insurgents

Fighting Intensifies in Yemen By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer Speaking in response to recent reports of suspected arms shipments, Iranian Navy Commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, has officially denied that the Irianian convoy was carrying arms destined for Houthi insurgents in Yemen. Furthermore, he said that Iran Navy warships were originally deployed along area shipping routes as an anti-piracy operation in accordance with UN approved resolutions. IRIN Commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari (IRNA photo) He also stated that Iran would maintain warships in international waters of the Gulf of Aden for at least the next several months, Admiral Sayyari also rejected reports that Iran's fleet has been warned to leave the Gulf of Aden, according to the Islamic Republic's state news agency, IRNA. http://irna.ir/en/News/81584120/ Meanwhile, in an apparently new phase of Read more

Gay Bakeries Deny Service to Traditional Marriage Celebration

I agree with Gay activists that refuse to make a cake for a traditional marriage celebration that says Gay Marriage is Wrong. The question is why should Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Conservative Jews, and others be forced to make same sex marriage cakes? The question is why would the government pursue one not the other? Does it show why we should let people make their own decisions in this regard? Watch the video here.

Yemen Area Naval Situation De-escalates

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

The US/Iranian naval tensions, related to suspected strategic arms shipments to Houthi rebels in Yemen appears to be de-escalating as the US Navy aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and guided missile cruiser USS Normandy are being withdrawn and are now heading back to the Persian Gulf, according to Pentagon officials.

Yesterday, the nine-ship Iranian convoy, thought to be carrying arms to Yemen, contrary to UN sanctions, reversed course in the Arabian Sea.

The International Dimensions of Yemen Sector Naval and Evacuation Operations

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer Beyond the current U.S. “Big Stick” naval diplomacy versus Iranian (pre-nuclear) asymmetric maritime power play situation in open waters off the coast of war-torn Yemen, international dimensions have evolved. According to the International Business Times, three German and two Japanese Navy vessels are known to be along the southern periphery of the oceanic area between the port cities of Aden in the west and Al Mukalla further east. The IBT article cited its source as: http://www.ibtimes.com/us-allied-naval-forces-converge-yemen-iran-suspected-supplying-weapons-houthis-1890833 , a free global ship tracking site. Their specific configurations and missions are virtually unknown at this point, but are surmised to be more directed toward general external maritime traffic monitoring rather than surveillance and arms interdiction in Yemeni waters. http://www.ibtimes.com/us-allied-naval-forces-converge-yemen-iran-suspected-supplying-weapons-houthis-1890833 Egyptian Read more

Iranian Convoy Bound for Yemen Reverses Course

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of annonymity in an apparently unauthorized statement, said that the nine-ship convoy of Iranian cargo ship suspected of carrying advanced weapons to Houthi insurgents in Yemen has apparently reversed its course, at least temporarily. The official said it remains unclear where the convoy is currenly headed, but it reportedly was no longer moving toward of the key Yemani port of Aden as of Thursday, April 23. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, yesterday, would not indicate whether or not the US Navy would forcibly stop and board Iranian ships entering Yemeni waters. It should be noted that this report is, as yet, unconfirmed, given the circumstances of its release. See: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/us-official-iranian-cargo-ships-reverse-30534625 Read more

U.S. Probably Will Not Join KSA Blockade of Yemen

Further Pentagon Denials Issued By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer The United States will not join in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's naval blockade of Yemen according to a Pentagon Spokesman, quoted in an April 17 Washington Post article by Dan Lamothe. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/04/17/navy-has-seven-combat-ships-around-yemen-as-saudi-led-blockade-continues The Midlantic Dispatch has compiled a list of eleven ships from various sources, comprising the currently deployed US Navy force as follows: Nimitz class aircraft carrier USNS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-70); Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USNS Normandy (CG-60); Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers USNS Forrest Sherman (DDG-98), USNS Winston Churchill (DDG-81) and USNS Sterett (DD 104); Avenger class minesweepers USNS Sentry (MCM-3) and USNS Dextrous (MCM-13); amphibious assault ship Read more

HB 50, Parental Right to Opt Out of Smarter Balanced Squeaks out of Committee

HB 50 received the 8 votes necessary to release it from committee over the objections of the chairman. 1 in favor, 7 on its merits, 1 opposed and 5 no votes. The committee report is as follows: This bill allows a parent or guardian of a Delaware public school student to opt that student out of the annual assessment (Smarter Balanced Assessment System). Committee Findings: The committee found that while the legislation brings about certain questions surrounding educational quality, it warranted debate by the full House of Representatives. The committee found the bill acceptable for release. Parents, Conservatives, the Delaware PTA, and the DSEA joined to support the legislation. The broad coalition is reflected in the sponsors of the legislation. Previous discussion of the bill can be found in an earlier post. Read more

Ukraine Still A Tinderbox

U.S. Troops In Eastern Ukraine Combat Zone Training Ukrainian Forces. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4e665f1a-e993-11e4-a687-00144feab7de.html#axzz3YA2sKr5G http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/23/us-ukraine-crisis-russia-usa-idUSKBN0NE1N920150423 Alexei Pushkov, head of the lower house of Parliament's foreign affairs committee and close ally of Vladimir Putin, has been an outspoken critic of Western sanctions on Moscow for its role in Ukraine. He suggested Thursday the worst was over in a crisis between the European Union and Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine and called for better cooperation with Burssels, according to Reuters News sources. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, U.S. troops are now in eastern Ukraine training Ukrainian Defense forces, Reuters recently reported. "U.S. troops are in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine and are training Ukrainian forces," Read more

Exiled Russian Duma Member Tells All

An Interview With Ilya Ponomarev By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer On March 20, 2014, contrary to the will of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ilya Ponomarev cast the sole vote of opposition when the Russian State Duma voted 445 to 1 to annex the Ukrainian region of Crimea. He stated that it was his duty to do this as a matter of principle. Within a few months, he was summarily stripped of his legislative immunity from prosecution and exiled from Russia. Although still officially a Duma member, he is now is working to organize a more formal opposition to Putin from within the Russian Diaspora, outside of the country. Currently residing in the US, Ponomarev in a VOX interview, reveals the forces behind renewed Russian expansion, the roots and limits of Putin's power, possible future changes in store for Russia and answers the question of why President Putin is not afraid of Read more

Dover City Election Results

MAYOR CANDIDATE TOTAL VOTES Carleton E. Carey, Sr. 622 OF VOTES (29.40%) Robin R. Christiansen 1,390 OF VOTES (65.69%) George J. Gaudioso 104 OF VOTES (4.91%) FIRST DISTRICT CITY COUNCIL James E. Hosfelt, Jr. 485 OF VOTES (59.88%) Beverly C. Williams 325 OF VOTES (40.12%) SECOND DISTRICT CITY COUNCIL Brian E. Lewis (Unopposed) THIRD DISTRICT CITY COUNCIL Vacant Council Seat - Term to Expire in May 2017 Chevis R. Anderson 172 OF VOTES (29.86%) Fred A. Neil 404 OF VOTES (70.14%) Expiring Council Seat - Term to Expire in May 2019 David L. Bonar 241 OF VOTES (41.13%) Scott W. Cole 345 OF VOTES (58.87%) FOURTH DISTRICT CITY COUNCIL Wallace R. Dixon 58 OF VOTES (19.66%) Kenneth G. Roach 84 OF VOTES (28.47%) Roy Sudler, Jr. 153 OF VOTES (51.86%) Read more

US- Iranian Naval Situation Not Widely Disclosed.

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer Apparently, US Naval forces have already boarded a vessel suspected of carrying arms to Yemen in the Red Sea. On April 1, according to the Wall Street Journal, a search of the Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel Saisaban by a boarding party of the guided missile destroyer USNS Sterett (DDG 104) on April 1 did not find evidence of an arms shipment. This is the first boarding operation conducted in the area to intercept strategic arms bound for Houthi rebels in Yemen according to US military officials. Read the original WSJ story here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-wants-to-block-iran-from-arming-yemens-houthi-rebels-1428868461 The USNS Sterett is a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. Details are available at: www.public.navy.mil/surfor/ddg104 Details of the Panamanian freighter Saisaban are available at : http://www.uskowioniran.com/2015/04/uss-sterett-boards-cargo-ship-searching.html The Read more

Another Reason to Oppose Fast Track

TPA Fast Track Authority could be Trojan Horse for Open Borders Dick Morris exposes how Congress would be foolish to give up its authority to make amendments and give up its proper role of supervision of trade. Now buried in the Trans Pacific Partnership is climate change and open borders. It may be a stealth EU. Some Republicans have been quick and even shrill to denounce as amnesty anything that addresses the problem of the 11 million immigrants here without proper papers. Here is something worse than amnesty. It is open borders. They had better wake up on this one. Republican leaders are blindly and inexplicably pushing Fast Track in spite of the fact the last 8 years have demonstrated that many responsible trade pacts can be passed without it. In fact, you have a broader and more responsible consensus when the President knows that Congress has there as an equal partner. Reagan Read more

Are U.S. Warships Heading To Yemeni Waters to Intercept Iranian Weapons Shipments?

Conflicting News Reports Emerge By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer We are getting conflicting reports of possible US Navy intercepts of Iranian weapons shipments in or near Yemeni waters. A Huffington Post article stated that US Navy officials have confirmed that the aircraft carrier USNS Theodore Roosevelt is headed toward the area to join other US Navy vessels (including the cruiser USNS Normandy) that are prepared to intercept Iranian arms shipments to Houthi insurgents in Yemen, while a Washington Times article stated that a US Navy spokesman at the Pentagon has officially denied this claim, classifying the event instead as conducting “maritime security operations”. The US Navy has, in response to the recent coup in Yemen, increased its presence in the Arabian Sea. No details on Iranian naval movements in the area are currently available, however, an unspecified convoy of Read more

USG Offers Redress for NO-Fly Listees

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer No longer will persons on the infamous DHS/TSA NO-Fly List be legally left "hanging in the air". The US Government, in response to legal challenges, has revised its redress procedures for persons placed on Department of Homeland Security's NO-Fly List, according to an article in FAS Roundup. The US Department of Justice announced in an April 13,2015 court filing that persons placed on the NO-Fly List will have new opportunities to challenge the denial of boarding on commercial aircraft. Before the ruling, the government steadfastly refused to confirm or deny that persons were placed on the list for reasons of national security. Challengers argued that the procedures were constitutionally deficient or otherwise improper. The entire article by Steven Aftergood can be read here: http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2015/04/no-fly-redress/ Read more